Lesson 10

The Man of God: Obedience is Not Optional

(1 Kings 12 & 13)
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Introduction: One of the goals of my life is to improve my "hearing" when God speaks to me. I'll bet that you know what I'm talking about: you have a sense that you should do something or not do something. You think it comes from God, but you are not sure. Is God impressing you through His Holy Spirit? Is it your conscience speaking - which comes from the training your parents gave you? Is it one of Satan's fallen angels trying to embarrass you? Is it indigestion? The older I get and the longer I walk with God the better I get at paying attention - but I'm still not very good. From time to time readers write and tell me I'm terrible at listening to God's will! How much should we trust advisors? On who or what can we trust? Let's dive right into our study of the Bible and learn more about the right foundation for knowing God's will!

  1. Taxation


    1. King Solomon dies, and his son Rehoboam becomes King. Let's find out what is on the mind of King Rehoboam's subjects. Read 1 Kings 12:4-5. What concern do the people have? (The level of taxation!)


      1. What do you think about the king's response? (He is showing wisdom by not immediately answering. He plans to seek counsel.)


    2. Read 1 Kings 12:6-7. What advice do the old guys give? (Lower taxes.)


    3. King Rehoboam next turns to his young friends for advice. Read 1 Kings 12:9-11. What advice do the young guys give him?(Assert your authority - more taxes!)


      1. Which advice would you accept? What is the appeal of each of the options?


    4. Read 1 Kings 12:12-14. Is King Rehoboam following the will of God? (Read 1 Kings 12:15-17. It turns out that God wanted a divided kingdom with Jeroboam being the King of the ten tribes of Israel.)


      1. If you were a counselor, wanting to give Godly advice to King Rehoboam, how would you know what to advise?


    5. Read 1 Kings 12:21-24. What rule do these two situations suggest about how we should listen to God? (Sometimes God does not give us specific advice on what to do. We need to look at the advice given in the Bible and use our common sense. On the other hand, sometimes God does directly speak to us on an issue. Rehoboam, to his credit, followed God's direct advice.)


  2. Calves


    1. In the meantime, the low-tax ten tribes of Israel have made King Jeroboam their king. Read 1 Kings 12:26-27. What problem does the king have which could benefit from some advice?


    2. Read 1 Kings 12:28-29. What do you think of the advice given to King Jeroboam? (Read Exodus 20:2-5 and Exodus 32:7-8. This is not a close call. Jeroboam should not have resorted to idolatry to solve his political problem.)


      1. Let's add another bit of information. Read 1 Kings 11:29-33. Knowing this, how would you advise King Jeroboam about his fears? (He had direct assurance from God through a prophet who had been right so far. Notice the reason why Jeroboam is being given most of the kingdom. That is a powerful reason not to turn to idolatry to solve the current worry.)


  3. The Man of God, Lying and the Lion


    1. Read 1 Kings 13:1-2. Does God have a message for King Jeroboam? Or, is this a political message from a political rival? (Not only does the man come from Judah (the other nation), but he says that a descendant of David (the other king's grandfather) will rule Israel.)


    2. Read 1 Kings 13:3-5. What evidence does Jeroboam have that this is from God? (The signs.)


    3. Read 1 Kings 13:6. Does King Jeroboam believe that the man is from God? (Yes, he does not think it is from a political rival.)


      1. Think about this. Would this be the point on which you would ask intercession if you were King Jeroboam? (Something much more important than the King's hand is at stake. The whole kingdom and the alternative way of worship are at stake.)


    4. Read 1 Kings 13:7-10. What procedural instructions has God given the man of God?


      1. What do you think about the man of God? (He is courageous, obedient and he cannot be bribed. He obviously is in tune with God because he is able to have the king's hand healed.)


    5. Read 1 Kings 13:11-14. What do you think motivates the old prophet to ride after the man of God?


      1. Is the man of God still following directions? (Nothing in the instructions said he could not rest. However, it seems that a quick retreat to Judah is what God had in mind. But, the man of God has had a very high tension day so far. I would need a rest - just to stop my hands from trembling.)


    6. Read 1 Kings 13:15-17. They sure make a lot of dinner invitations in Israel! Is the man of God still faithful?


    7. Read 1 Kings 13:18-19. Would you fault the man of God? (Remember that twice he has been given an invitation, and twice he has turned it down. He changes his mind now only because he is told that God changed the instructions.)


      1. Do prophets of God lie? (Apparently. The Bible calls the old fellow a prophet. Lying, however, is an attribute of Satan.)


      2. Why do you think the old prophet lied?


      3. Recall that we started our lesson with a discussion on how to listen to God's messages to us. What do you do when you realize that a prophet is willing to lie?


    8. Read 1 Kings 13:20-22. I ask you again, is the old prophet a true prophet of God? (God is speaking through him and making a prophecy! We will see if this prophecy comes true.)


      1. Review for a minute the courage and obedience of the man of God in confronting King Jeroboam. How can God say that he "defied" God's instructions? The word translated "defied," could also be translated "rebelled." This is a strong word!


    9. Read 1 Kings 13:23-28. What are the odds of being killed by a lion without being eaten?


      1. What are the odds of being killed by a lion when a big fat donkey is standing around?


      2. What can we reasonably deduce from these facts? (In accordance with God's word of prophecy to the old prophet, God sent a lion to kill the man of God.)


      3. Read 1 Peter 5:8. Is this a current problem for us?


    10. How important is it to listen to the right message from God?


      1. Should we believe our pastor?


      2. Should you believe me?


      3. Should you believe a prophet?


        1. If you said, "no," to the above questions, who or what should you believe? (Did you ever wonder why each discussion in these lessons is begun by a reading from the Bible? We start out with God's word. Everything has to be tested against God's word. Do you think God is impressing you to do something? Test it against God's word.)


      4. The man of God performed brilliantly and courageously for most of the day. What lesson do we find in that? (No matter what you have done to advance the Kingdom of God, you must never let down your guard. One lapse can ruin your life.)


    11. Read 1 Kings 13:29-32. What level of confidence does the old prophet have in the man of God? (He is certain his predictions will come true.)


      1. What should we learn from the old prophet and the man of God? (Neither were perfect. But, both spoke accurately (at least some of the time) for God.)


    12. Read 2 Kings 23:15-19. What happens 300 years later? (The words of the man of God and the old prophet come true.)


    13. Friend, our lesson shows that even people who God uses will sometimes lie. Will you determine today, when trying to listen to God and follow Him, to believe nothing that cannot be supported by the Bible, the word of God?


  4. Next week: The Widow of Zarephath: The Leap of Faith.

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